A new-look maintenance firm is finally beginning to turn around a £175m repairs contract that has been beset with problems.
Morrison, which won a £35m-a-year deal to maintain 37,000 Leeds council homes in 2011, has bettered its performance after being told to improve for a second time by Leeds City Council chiefs last year.
The struggling firm was taken over by rival contractor Mears late last year, and since then a new senior management board has attempted to sort out problematic contracts with local authorities across the country. The council and Mears are now working to develop a fresh start to the contract from the start of April.
Coun Peter Gruen, the council’s executive member for housing, said: “I believe that the takeover of Morrison by Mears part way through the service improvement plan has made a substantial difference. Additional resources were brought into the Leeds contract at no extra cost to the council – this has enabled much of the outstanding work to be cleared.”
He said the council has seen an improvement of 50 per cent in performance on empty properties, which were being completed in between six days and 10 days for Aire Valley Homes and West North West Homes during December last year. The firm is also achieving the contract standard on repairs and maintenance, along with getting more than 90 per cent of repairs right first time.
The extra efforts have sought to address backlogs of jobs and residents’ complaints received by Morrison earlier in the contract.
Coun Gruen added: “I am very pleased to see that the action the council has taken has led to this improved picture. I have made it absolutely clear to the new management of the company that from April there is no excuse for customers not to receive the service to which they are entitled.”
A factor in the improvements was seen to be the move to return major adaptation services including the installation of wet floor showers and stair lifts, to the council last month.